Better Buses and Safer Streets for Longsight: Launch of Community Project

10th October 2003
news
release

On 17th, 18th and 20th October, Manchester Friends of the Earth (FOE) [2] and Hamilton Road Area Residents’ Association (HRACA) [3] are inviting Longsight residents and community leaders and policy makers in Manchester to Longsight Library [1] to an exhibition to present the findings of their award-winning community [4] project about transport in Longsight. The exhibition is open from 10am until 5pm on the 17th and 18th and from 10am until 7:30pm on the 20th.

Working directly with community groups and the public in the Northmoor and Hamilton Road areas, the project talked to more than 400 people, across all the different communities in the area, asking them their transport problems, and what they would like to see change for the better. The project differed from usual community consultations on transport: instead of calling meetings or sending out questionnaires, researchers went into the community to meet people at the places and at the times where they meet anyway. This is the first time that the methodology – known as participatory appraisal – has been used to look at transport [5].

The report is available on the project Internet site [6]. Three priorities were identified:

  • better bus services – especially on the 53 bus, and cheaper Megarider tickets
  • reducing the danger from traffic – including measures to slow down traffic, more pedestrian crossings and safe routes to schools
  • reducing the danger from crime – including more CCTV and police on the beat.

The exhibition kick starts campaigning on the issues identified in the report. To this end, Manchester FOE and HRACA are inviting local people to join a local transport working group.

Graeme Sherriff, co-ordinator of the project, is optimistic that local people will get involved:

“People in Longsight are clear about their transport problems and what they want to see done. They want better buses and safer streets.. The information we have gathered gives us lots of useful ammunition for a campaign to improve Longsight’s transport. We hope the local community will join us in working to improve the area.”

The report is published as councils in Manchester start preparing the city’s second Local Transport Plan, a blueprint for transport across Greater Manchester for 2006 – 2011.

Friends of the Earth’s Transport Campaigner Tony Bosworth said:

“The report has some challenging lessons for Manchester as a whole. Only by talking to people can you find out what their real concerns are. This doesn’t mean calling a meeting and hoping people turn up, but going to talk to them on their patch, in the places where they meet anyway. Councils will soon be drawing up a blueprint for Manchester’s transport for the rest of the decade. We urge them to go into the community to find out what people are really worried about and what they really want from their transport system.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. Longsight Library, 519 Stockport Road, Longsight, Manchester, M12 4NE. Tel: 0161 224 1411, Fax: 0161 225 2119. Email: longsite@libraries.manchester.gov.uk.

2. Manchester Friends of the Earth is a prominent pressure group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on their website: https://www.manchesterfoe.org.uk. Manchester Friends of the Earth is part of a national network of local groups, affiliated to the national organisation (further information can be found at http://www.foe.co.uk).

3. The Hamilton Road Area Community Association (HRACA) is an association for residents, businesses, organisations and people working in the Hamilton Road Area.

4. Manchester Friends of the Earth were recently awarded the ‘Earth Movers’ award by national Friends of the Earth, primarily for their work on this project.

5. The methodology was developed by the consultancy Development Focus UK, which specialises in training local people in participatory appraisal. Contact: Dr Robert Nurick: Development Focus Trust, 23 York Avenue, Brighton & Hove, BN3 1PJ; tel: 01273 700707; email: robert@devfocus.org.uk and vicky@devfocus.org.uk.

6. https://www.manchesterfoe.org.uk/longsight